Hi from South Korea!


My time in South Korea ended up being one of the most exciting experiences in my life. I went there as an exchange student to study at a prestigious Sungkyunkwan University. Before the trip I was slightly nervous, not only because I was about to travel to a completely different country, but also because I felt the preparations with the school were lacking.


Upon arriving I found my way into the dorm building with a little help from some locals who happened to speak English. On a hindsight, I got really lucky as I quickly learned that almost no one speaks English there. I enjoyed the life at the dorm as I got to know the other residents there who were also exchange students and made a few really good friends as well.


The campus area was beautiful and well maintained with some historical features as well. It’s actually the oldest university in South Korea as it was established as early as the year 1398. They had preserved some of the old feel to how the buildings looked back then as well as built newer modern buildings which were the main places for students to study nowadays. The only downside of the University was it’s location as the campus area stands on a hill which we would have to climb often. This wasn’t too bad later on, but at the beginning of the semester when the weather was at 30 degrees Celsius, it was dreadful.


The professors that I ended up with were all nice people and had this more lenient western feel to them. I think they were being easier on us exchange students as they knew we weren’t used to the same standards as the Koreans were. This was apparent also, when looking at the Korean students at the campus. It felt like their only life was to study and nothing else. People were at the campus from the morning until the evening, if not in class, in library studying. Even when talking to some locals, they told me that, it’s just how it is in Korea. It’s how their life is structured and graduating a good university at a young age is top priority for everyone. It’s engraved in their culture and society puts a lot of pressure on kids to follow this path. Nevertheless, I am glad I got to study at one of the top Universities in Korea and were able to do well and learn more about my field.


Outside of the student life, I got to explore a lot of Seoul and even some parts of South Korea outside of Seoul. There’s just so much to do in Korea. Every street had different kinds of activities you can do from karaoke to arcades and from pc cafés to board game cafés. The whole atmosphere just seemed so lively with everything being available and so many people walking the streets enjoying themselves. That’s probably the biggest part of the culture that I miss. Everyday eating out together and just having a good time is just a different feel from Finland.


Not only the life in the city but nature as well was a big part of my trip. I enjoyed hiking and just walking outside. I hiked the tallest mountain in Seoul as well as visited Jeju Island, which is the largest island in Korea and a popular tourist destination. The Island is a tropical island with more nature which was nice change from being in Seoul. Other cities I went to in South Korea included Busan, Suwon and Gyeongju, which were all incredible experiences as well. Honestly, so much fit in to the four months I spent in Korea that it’s difficult to capture the experience in this text. I add some of the pictures that I took from my trip to give you a better view of my life there. I recommend everyone to at least visit South Korea one time if you ever have the chance. You won’t regret it!


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